Review by the roving raptor critic, Meg. Read her book review of I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore here.
Grade if you’ve read the book:
Grade if you haven’t read the book:
About halfway through viewing “I Am Number Four,” my friend leaned over and whispered, “I can only imagine how you lived through reading this book.”
“Actually,” I whispered back, “this is like a thousand times better!”
I Am Number Four was a pretty atrocious book. “I Am Number Four” was also a pretty atrocious movie. However, decent acting, good CGI, and a healthy dose of eye candy made it so much more palatable; I actually found myself enjoying parts. But they were only small parts and few and far between. On the whole, the movie rose only slightly above its source material.
The general background remains true to the book (a review of which can be found at Meg’s Review: I Am Number Four): Number Four/John (Alex Pettyfer) is an alien on the run. He hides out in Paradise, Ohio where he meets/falls in love with beautiful Sarah (Dianna Argon), befriends nerdy Sam (Callan McAuliffe) and does his best to sort of follow the ground rules laid out by his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant). But of course, things go awry and the alien invaders find him and begin to blow the general crap out of everything.
The movie suffers from the same unfortunate flaw of the book: turtle-like pacing. The front 80% drags on so slowly, wading through mediocre dialogue and a slightly over-the-top indie rock soundtrack. But when the final battle goes down and a random hot Australian chick (Teresa Palmer) shows up, things get considerably better. Hot Australian chick (who is Number Six, for the curious) brings us such gemlike one-liners as, “Red Bull’s for pussies” and a golf-like “Four!” (a play on words that I completely missed while reading it and was delighted to hear yelled in the middle of a battle scene). Like the book, the movie would have been far better with a condensed lead, using the big battle at the end as a spring board into the heart of this movie (instead of the launching point into the inevitable sequel).
Still, having sludged through the book, the movie truly was the more enjoyable. Characters had more depth; instead of just being beautiful and well-loved by everyone, Sarah was presented with self-esteem issues that were played to just the right amount of angst. The acting was solid. Timothy Olyphant is always a joy to watch (though he does remind me of Billy Bob Thorton to an uncomfortable extent). And Dianna Argon’s Sarah was particularly intriguing. Even the bully Mark (Jake Abel) was a three-dimensional character (if a bit of a douche). I am not entirely certain if Alex Pettyfer can actually act, though. I was far too busy keeping a tally of his shirtless scenes (a woefully-low 3).
It was certainly not the best movie in the world, but it could have been worse. If you are curious about the franchise, I would definitely suggest the movie over the book. Sure, there were plot holes in the movie. But the explanations for those holes given in the book are just silly anyway. Sometimes, it’s better to not know and just sit back and watch the pretty people act.
Best note from the Raptor’s journal:
“Henri warned me that we only fall for one person,” says ruggedly-beat-up Number Four.
“Ever?” asks a breathless Sarah.
“Ever.” Enter epic kiss.
“Barf,” says my friend. “Monogamous aliens are lame.”
I was tempted to watch this just for Timothy Olyphant (been enjoying “Deadwood” and “Justified” of late). Sounds as though watching the pretty really is all this one is good for – the preview did hint at that.
But at least it’s REALLY good pretty. Totally worth the price of cable/redbox admission.
Awesome. My friend and I may have to hire it out one Friday night…
Thanks for talking this one down. It’s great going into a movie with low expectations. It’s not awesome, but expecting it to suck does make it seem more enjoyable.
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